FGDP(UK) member, and winner of the Faculty’s Community Dentist of the Year, Jason Wong, was invited to host the @NHS Twitter account for a week from 8 to 12 July, raising the profile of primary care dentistry within the wider, national medical conversation.
Jason, who works in practice in Grantham and is Local Dental Network Chair for Leicestershire and Lincolnshire as well as Hertfordshire and South Midlands in NHS Midlands and East of England, used his five-day takeover to encourage discussion about key issues affecting the profession including children’s oral health, treating older people and dementia sufferers, and holistic dentistry.
As a member of FGDP(UK), Jason was keen to raise awareness of the Faculty and its work in setting and upholding clinical standards in general dental practice, posting a ‘shout out’ to FGDP(UK) and providing a link to the Faculty’s evidence-based Guidance and Standards. In particular, he referenced FGDP(UK)’s guidance on Dementia-Friendly Dentistry, which supports general dental practitioners in effective treatment planning and care of dementia sufferers. A welcome message from FGDP(UK)’s Twitter feed was also retweeted by @NHS/Jason.
On the first day of his tenure, he opened discussions on a range of topics and began by sharing the benefits of the morning team huddle that has become routine in his practice. This was followed by a discussion thread on the holistic care offered in general practice. He later raised the importance of collecting patient feedback and in particular the Friends and Family Test issued by NHS England.
Next on Jason’s agenda was children’s oral health. A lively discussion followed Jason’s tweet about encouraging parents to bring their children for a dental check from the age of one, so they can receive advice on brushing and diet. Several practitioners joined the thread to offer toothbrushing tips and why early attendance at the dentist is vital. This discussion was of particular interest to the public with several parents contributing to the discussion.
The conversation turned to safeguarding with one contributor pointing out the importance of labelling ‘DNAs’ as ‘Not Broughts’ in order to encourage consideration of the circumstances around a child’s lack of attendance at an appointment. The exchanges also encompassed non-compliance, with a parent raising the point that her child is autistic and although he has been brought to his appointments he has been unable to go ahead with the clinical examination to date.
Looking for signs of mouth cancer during a dental check, the HPV vaccine and the implementation of the Dental Contract Reform were also up for discussion.
The week’s dentistry takeover of the NHS Twitter account proved to be a great way to bring some of the profession’s agenda to the forefront of public debate and highlight the importance of dentistry in relation to wider issues such as general health, the implications of treating an ageing population and safeguarding. The Faculty would like to congratulate Jason for his great efforts in facilitating this important debate.
Speaking about his week-long Twitter tenure, Jason commented, "It was a a real pleasure to curate the NHS Twitter handle for the week and try and share some aspects of the dental world to the rest of the NHS. Fitting it in a busy working week was a challenge but I would encourage any colleagues to take part in this if the opportunity arose. It was really rewarding to interact with such good dental people and organisations like FGDP(UK) during the week. It was also very good that Seema Kennedy, the minister for public health and primary care who has responsibility for dentistry, retweeted my post regarding contract reform."